Thursday, September 9, 2010

Superpowerist Presumption: “Secret Agent” Edition

Among all Super-Powers, the power of Identity-Morph is among the most rare and powerful powers. Clark Kent transforms into Superman, five teenagers transform into the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, and so on. In a world of Super-powered people, these legendary Super-Powered fighting forces have attained a status beyond the typical super-powered person. Something of some kind must activate the Identity-Morph, a coin, a phone call, a beacon in the night sky. Their Identities must remain secret at all costs, so the bonds of a Super-Powered fighting force are, themselves, powerful, as is the mechanism that sets up activation. A Super-Powerless person is utterly helpless against such secret bonds and mechanisms.

It seems that I currently posses the former phone number of one of the great Identity-Morphs, a certain D.C., from whom I inherited my phone number when I moved to my current address several years ago. Within an hour after my telephone (landline) service was connected, I received an automated phone call:

“This is a call for Dxxxx Cxxxx. Please call *loud static* at *loud static* or remain on the line *more loud static*.”

The call was intended for D.C., so I did not remain on the line. Every day after that I received the same automated call. Sometimes at 8:00 AM on the weekends. Ordinary people also called for DC and I was able to tell them that DC no longer had this phone number. These people would apologize for bothering me and did not call back. Only the automated call persisted. The periods of static on the tape seemed intentional. Whoever was behind the automated phone call wished to mask their identity in secrecy and render it impossible to contact him, her or “it.” I would have to remain on the line to uncover the mystery.

So I did.

The static of the automated phone call recording gave way after a while to some clicks that indicated the call was going through some system to an operator of some sort. A woman with a nasal voice, comically close to being the voice of an old-time phone operator began speaking to me:

“Dxxxx Cxxxx, thank you for contacting us,” she said.

“Um, I’m not Dxxxx Cxxxx,” I replied.

“This is XXX-XXX-XXXX,” the operator said.”

“Yes, it is. But I’m not Dxxxx Cxxxx,” I said.

“Please, put Dxxxx Cxxxx on the phone then,” the operator said. She seemed annoyed.

“Dxxxx Cxxxx does not live here. You have the wrong phone number for Dxxxx Cxxxx.”

“If this is XXX-XXX-XXXX, that is Dxxxx Cxxxx’s phone number.”

“Um, no it isn’t. Not anymore. I just moved to XXXXX and received this phone number.”

“If this is XXX-XXX-XXXX, it is Dxxxx Cxxxx’s phone number,” the operator repeated. Clearly, something was wrong. Basic, sound explanation seemed meaningless to her, but I persisted.

“Um, you’re not understanding me. I just received this new phone number one week ago. I am not Dxxxx Cxxxx, but a new resident, and I have a different address than the person you are looking for [I knew this from talking with the ordinary people looking for D.C.]. You have the wrong number now.”

“If you have answered the phone, we have the correct phone number,” the operator informed me.

“Did you hear what you just said?” I asked. At this point I was pushed beyond perplexity. My patience was at its end.

“If YOU have answered the phone,” the operator repeated, “we have the correct phone number.”

“YOU DO NOT HAVE THE CORRECT PHONE NUMBER FOR Dxxxx Cxxxx! I AM NOT Dxxxx Cxxxx. No one here is Dxxxx Cxxxx!”

“We will call you back when you CALM DOWN, MA’MAM.”

The operator hung up.

Indeed, the automated calls continued. As the year progressed new automated messages came and went. They were from agencies with strange names like, “IntraTell Corp.” and “AdvanceIT.” Whenever I saw the name of some bizarre company on my caller ID, I knew it was another agency seeking Dxxxx Cxxxx. This person was important, and, crucially, the phone number associated with Dxxxx Cxxxx was just as important. There was no way to disassociate the two. They were linked at a profound level. I realized that this link was so profound that it could only be explained by Super-Power Morph activation. The phone number I had received was the result of a mistake--a mistake attributable to Super-Powerist Presumption. Whoever Dxxxx Cxxxx was as an “ordinary person,” Dxxxx Cxxxx must also have possessed the power of Morph. The mechanism of the automated phone call was clearly a means to activate the Morph power. Anyone possessing the phone number was also expected to possess the Morph power associated with the number. Being Super-Powerless to begin with, I was failing the system massively. I had answered the phone.

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